My former writing teacher at WritersCollege.com, Stephen Morrill, once wrote, “I don’t like writing. I like having written.”
My goal is to get to “having written.” To get a story, complete with beginning, middle, and end, done, edited, reasonably polished, and published. But that takes dedication (which I have; you don’t go back to something — again — without being dedicated,) courage, and focus.
Focus is the problem. Writing is scary every single day, and since I have problems focusing anyway, my brain slides off the scary task of writing like slime off Teflon ™.
But my life hacking is working. I have something scarier than writing today — paying $5 to Beeminder today. My barriers — and my excuses — are melting away. I’ve had very little back and shoulder pain now, for more than a week. My knee is slowly healing. And I’m gradually developing better sleep habits — poor sleep habits being yet another thing that feeds into my arthritis.
Doing something foolish like staying up too late — well, I just paid $5 for that, so I’m less likely to repeat it. Surprisingly, I get more than just a $5 slap in the wallet — I also get an empathetic note from customer support if I bother to send in a postmortem report.
I’m continuing to use Habitica to provide positive incentive, as well. Now that I’m making progress on some stubborn negative behaviors, rewards I’ve set up for myself that seemed out of reach now are beginning to beckon: A massage for reaching a BMI reading that is less than “obese.” A bathing suit for reaching a BMI reading that is “normal.” A day at a spa for actually publishing something. No need to invent a reward for getting my arthritis under control — I haven’t hiked the local mountains in far too long. As soon as I can handle a mile walk, I’m out there.
And I’m finding that it’s okay to enjoy life on the way. To plan vacations with Hubby that are not contingent on getting anything written, that have no purpose but to have fun. (Hint: I will be travel blogging in April and in September. Details to come…) That’s hard both for Hubby and for me — to travel, not to visit relatives (though there’s nothing wrong with that), not to attend a conference, not to check out possible retirement spots, but just because we want to go . . . somewhere. Australia. Iceland. Cambridge, Massachusetts.